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[ARSCLIST] well, this might explain <snip>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <mrichter@xxxxxxx>
> Steven C. Barr(x) wrote:
> > Apparently, popular culture works much like economics...there is a
> > "law" (forget whose) that runs "bad money drives out good money"
> > and that has certainly become true of popular culture ever since
> > television took over most peoples' existences...!
> You've cited Gresham's law appropriately - though its meaning is quite
> different. The mechanism is that people will hoard 'good' money so that
> it goes out of circulation and only 'bad' money is in distribution.
> Hoarding 'good music' (whatever that means) is hardly an issue. One
> aspect of recorded music is that its supply is essentially unlimited;
> the rules of economics do not apply in that respect. I may be unwilling
> to share an original copy of some beloved title, but its copies are
> *musically* equivalent, hence of no intrinsic value. (Arguments about
> the value of packaging and of other esthetic aspects are interesting,
> but not relevant here.)
> What appears to have happened is a shift of values from music to sonics.
> In fact, it is not even 'good' sonics - high fidelity to an original
> source. Most fields in which there is a meaning to the sound of a
> performance have fallen on hard times, not only classical music but also
> jazz, folk and others. Loud, simple, and demanding seem to have won out
> in current markets. Subtlety and complexity are in decline. In short,
> the microphone and the amplifier have set new values which are
> appreciated more widely than musical production per se.
> Sorry for the diatribe, but sometimes I succumb.
Actually, I wasn't citing Gresham's Law (thanxes for the right name!)
in any serious sense...more as wry humour. It is, in a serious sense,
not too hard to figure out...music is marketed primarily to young
people, and young people mainly want volume and an obvious rhythm
to which they can dance (hence the well-known "American Bandstand"
cliche..."I'll give it an 85...it has a good beat and you can dance
As well, young people like to MAKE their music as well as to buy,
listen, or dance to it...and they would prefer to do so without the
tedious and time-consuming effort of actually mastering a musical
instrument! First, the current popular instruments...electric guitar,
electric bass and drums...require little effort for one to be able
to play well enough to NOT interfere with other players...and, second,
the more-or-less principle of punk rock, in which NOT being competent
on one's instrument was something of which to be proud, made the process
of "becoming a musician" even easier!
Note that I'm not saying there are no talented young musicians...I
have worked with, and played in front of, many of them. However,
popular music has evolved from "dance orchestras," which required
skill and talent on one's instrument as well as the ability to read
"charts"...to modern-day "rock bands" in which the only ability
absolutely required is to play in the same key and approximately
the same tempo...! Jazz has, for the greater part, wandered off
into an abstract realm where the listener can never be entirely
sure if the dissonance and wandering tempo is intended or simply
due to a lack of competence on the part of the participants...and
"New Country" is simply old rock-style music with a fiddle and/or
pedal steel guitar added for "authenticity" Finally, the current
usage of "folk music" means simply simple, generally self-accompanied
songs, usually with a left-wing-ish lyrical message, and minimal use
of electric/amplified instruments.
Worse yet, as we move into the 21st century, human rhythm sections
are being rapidly replaced by digital sound-creation programs...and
the record/turntable combination is used as an instrument, not for
playing recordings of them!
It's quite possible that in another decade or two music will be
created primarily by use of digital programming, and anyone who
takes the time and trouble to actually LEARN...let alone master...
an actual, non-digital musical instrument will be dis(mis)sed as
an old-fasioned Luddite, "doin' it the hard way!"
This, of course, excludes the classical-music world...which will
probably continue to exist but in decreasing numbers...?!
Steven C. Barr